What does writing look like in your classroom?

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by savestheday1121, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. savestheday1121

    savestheday1121 Rookie

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    Jan 5, 2009

    I don't know about other teachers, but I feel like writing is the subject I have the most difficulty teaching. I was hoping we could share some ideas of what writing looks like in your classroom, whether it is writing workshop or something else.
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 5, 2009

    Me, too. I'm looking forward to the responses.
     
  4. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Jan 5, 2009

    Well, I'm reviewing my procedures for WW tomorrow, so this will help me think thru. I have not been great at the mini lesson thing. Mine always seem to go into half of the time, so I have gotten to where I do one good lesson, linking the topic to a mentor text and some model writing. We begin our writing if there is time. Usually not though. Actual writing kind of varies. Sometimes the kids start and work thru the stages on their own. I can conference and work with individuals on skills.

    Lately, we have really liked writing in groups--2-3 students at the most per group. They pick a topic that they all have knowledge of or are interested in researching together. They work together in creating the writing. I don't usually have a chance to conference during this time because of checking in with the groups. The groups know they have to work together, respect one another even if they don't agree with something, and be a positive team member. They are really loving this lately, so the punishment for not following is one reprimand and then removal to write on their own. I have honestly had some very good work come from this. The students have better sentences and work well with one another on organization. To produce the final copy--one writes, one draws the picture, and one decorates the "frame" that the work will go in.

    I'm not sure if that is what you are looking for, and I struggle with writing. I really struggle with that whole mini lesson deal. I tried setting a timer, etc but I didn't feel like my kids got it in that short of a time. So now I do a big lesson and use anchor charts as reminders for the kids.
     
  5. Writer02

    Writer02 Companion

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    Jan 7, 2009

    It is good to work on a writing skill and then have the writing for that day/week focus on using that skill correctly. For example, we were studying verbs for grammar. I wanted the kids to write a brochure about our field trip as a follow up for it. So, I put up a chart of vivid verbs, and we talked about how to make simple verbs more vivid. There are often many ways to say what you mean. Example: talk : jabber, chat, report, declare, discuss, inform respond. Then, they started working on writing text for their brochures using vivid verbs. When I evaluate these, I will specifically look at the verbs used.
     
  6. BB0211

    BB0211 Companion

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    Jan 8, 2009

    Writing is my favorite to teach. I have a lot to share, but it would be helpful for me if you could specify what you need.

    Is it teaching genres?

    Creative writing?

    Centers?

    Peer conference?
     
  7. teaching4God

    teaching4God Cohort

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    Jan 10, 2009

    I like vivid verbs, so what could we title the adjectives? Do you have exercises for figurative language.
     
  8. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Jan 10, 2009

    My writing looks like....a mess?

    I'm interested to read these.
     
  9. Writer02

    Writer02 Companion

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    Jan 12, 2009

    Amazing Adjectives!

    For example, instead of mean: cruel, evil, menacing, wicked, vicious


    Amazing adjectives can be used in any descriptive writing.
     
  10. Ambrosegirl84

    Ambrosegirl84 Companion

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    Jan 12, 2009

    I love teaching writing, as well. I have only five students, so that makes organization much easier. I pretty much follow the Writing Workshop approach. Mine consists of a mini-lesson followed by work time. My mini-lessons vary. Sometimes they talk about writer's craft, like leads and endings. Other days we talk about adding descriptive language, or use graphic organizers to help the students stay on topic with their stories.

    Because of having such a small group, I don't set aside specific days to have conferences, but rather circle around and get a variety of "mini-conferences" in each day with everybody.
     
  11. savestheday1121

    savestheday1121 Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2009

    Great responses so far. I am intrested in the Amazing Adjectives and Vivid Verbs! I am wondering how much time you have for writing each day. I feel like my kids don't have enough time to put together meaningful writing pieces because of the busy daily schedule.

    I have been sticking to the writing pieces I know are on our upcoming state tests. Primarily, persuasive writing, expository writing, and personal narrative. I can barely find the time to bring in any creative writing, even though I remember doing so much of that when I was in elementary school.

    BBO211, I would be intersted to see how you use centers in 5th grade. As my district moves towards more data analysis of students, it would be a nice way to provide students with the specific skills they need to improve as writers.

    Thanks for all of your comments so far!
     
  12. teaching4God

    teaching4God Cohort

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    Jan 12, 2009

    I agree it would be nice to see with the data analysis we focus on.
     
  13. Writer02

    Writer02 Companion

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    Jan 13, 2009

  14. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jan 16, 2009

    Our district uses the Being a Writer program. It uses picture books to teach the genres of writing, and has the students doing writing for each genre. My 5th graders have already written an expository text, and a personal narrative. We are currently working on fiction stories. (these are books they create)
    At first, I wasn't so sure of the program, because it is scripted. However, I have gone through and highlited the most important script to teach,which leaves my class more time to write.
    At the end of the year, we will do a WW where the kids will publish a book in whatever genre they would like. We will host an author's tea as well.
    I am feeling much more confident in teaching writing. Of course, my team teaches grammar separate. We then grade their use of proper grammar in their writing.
     
  15. LoriVincent

    LoriVincent Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2009

    Laura B

    May you share the title of the picture books that you use with the genre they represent? Please? Thanks!
     
  16. LoriVincent

    LoriVincent Rookie

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    Jan 16, 2009

    Laura B

    May you share the titles of the picture books that you use with the genre they represent? Please? Thanks!
     
  17. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jan 18, 2009

    LoriVincent,
    Sure! I am off until Tuesday, but when I get back, I will look in my manual, make a list and post it here.
     
  18. teaching4God

    teaching4God Cohort

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    Jan 19, 2009

    You helped me out so much with the Vivid Verbs and Amazing Adjectives. I saw a spark of interest when I started writers workshop the other day. I stole some ideas from the poster for our lists that we are keeping in our writing binder.
     
  19. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jan 21, 2009

    Starting this semester, I teach a mini-lesson such as ways to hook your reader, practicing a variety of them as I teach it. Then the next day they write, emphasizing the skill I was teaching. I've already gone over most of these lessons before while I was teaching them the three genres they have to know for the writing assessment given in March. So this acts as a review (or for some it seems to be the first time they've ever heard it. Sigh.)

    The writing is prompt-driven since they are assessed this way in fifth. I know 4th grade is more journal/free writing.

    I'll review expository, narrative, and persuasive one last time, then they are going to get a mystery prompt every week. I'll have three different selections, one from each genre, and they'll draw one of the slips.

    And prewrite for 10 minutes, then a rough draft and begin revision for the next 35 minutes. The next day they will finish revision and write the final copy, editing as they write this final copy for 45 minutes.

    The writing test is two 60-minute sessions, both on the same day.

    Finally, I'm pulling kids to stay after school with me if I notice a major problem, and will just go over the problem in class if it is minor.

    So far, I've got two kids who can't get anything done in the time frame....one panics and the other daydreams. They're staying after school with me so we can form a plan of attack.

    I've got 2 language LD students who are gifted. Their writing looks like 1st graders wrote it. I have no idea how to help them. I

    I've got one girl who writes in fragements. She's getting better with some inclass mini-conferences.

    One boy could care less. That would be my ADHD wild child. Not much I can do there anymore.

    And finally, one that, well, as we say in the south, "Bless him." He's staying tomorrow with me so that we can figure something out.

    I'm down to panicking about the test now. Sort of. I mean, I'm a bit burnt out from teaching the same thing over and over.

    And I think verbs are far more important than adjectives.


    Which sounds better?

    "The red and orange leaves fell to the ground." or

    "The leaves danced and twirled on their way to the ground."
     
  20. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Feb 3, 2009

    LoriVincent,
    Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you about Being a Writer: Here are the genres and book that go with each:
    Personal Narrative: Firetalking, Knot in my Yo-yo string
    Fiction: The Wreck of the Zephyr, Moira's Birthday, Nothing Ever happens on 90th Street, Uncle Jed's Barbershop, Sweet Music in Harlem, The Sweetest Fig, The Lotus Seed, Just a Dream, The Summer My Father was Ten
    Expository Writing: I wonder Why the Sun Rises, The Seashore, Life in the Rainforest, Earthquakes, Wildfires

    Once we get into more units, I will keep posting the books here!
    Hope this helps.:)
     
  21. maebowler

    maebowler Comrade

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    Feb 3, 2009

    Why not, The red and orange leaves danced and twirled on their way to the ground.
     

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